Review: Robb Murphy – Take A StandTweet
Robb Murphy is one of the many Irish solo artists that seems to have been content staying under the radar of most music bloggers and journalists. However April of this year will see the release of his debut album Take A Stand, and with the accompanying promotional material comparing it to Damien Rice’s O the expectations are indeed high.
The comparison is made void immediately given the drum machine and keyboards used in the majority of the songs, not to mention the lack of emotionally moving sentiments. The first single released from the album is Love in Abundance; perhaps the only song that merits the aforementioned comparison purely for its acoustic nature. There is a soothing Irishness about Murphy’s voice in this song that lilts beautifully alongside the delicate guitar and distant piano. On My Side, another single from the album, goes in the opposite direction; adopting a more upbeat melody and a muzak sounding backing track.
The album on a whole fails to take off, however with wonderfully simple songs like I’ll follow, it should be more than just reminiscent of the background CD in a trendy boutique; unfortunately that is all it is as a collective. I’ll Follow is easily the most compelling track of the eleven present on the album. Its echoed quality with simplistic acoustic guitar and a touch of keyboard, does not make it comparable to Damien Rice, but it is something much more interesting. Throughout the song a slight of intriguingly weak electric guitar, lurks behind the quiet backing music and Murphy’s lamenting lyrics. This builds up to an understated but technically masterful and clear-cut solo towards the end of the song. It is proof of Murphy’s talent, however when compared to the rest of the album, it seems out of place. Other tracks on the album are lacking the composition and lyrical distinction that renders it close to perfection. For instance Unconscious fades into the background in a catatonic nature, baring little that is likely to strike any listener with its monotonous vocals and repetitive melodic-less backing track. Disappointingly this is something which can be said about the majority of the tracks on the album, minus the exceptions already discussed.
With so much potential and obvious talent, the album could be described as a failure of expectation. With such promising talent coming from Murphy and with one or two remarkable songs, the album shouldn’t feel as stale and nondescript as it does. It is frustrating to hear an album with obvious indication of artistic cleverness to become so inconsistent from track to track. For a self-produced album, the quality is perfect from an engineering and sound point of view, but from a musical viewpoint, it will leave listeners pining for more tracks as commanding as I’ll Follow.